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Transmission Programmer Guides

Transmission Programmer: Picking the Right One to Improve Your Car’s Performance

Would you like to improve your vehicle's transmission without having to pop up the hood and install performance parts? Then you should get yourself a transmission programmer. Unlike the typical act of installing parts, a transmission programmer just plugs into the OBD-II diagnostic port found under your vehicle's dashboard near the driver's side footwell without the need of any other tool. A proper transmission programmer doesn't just increase the power and torque of your vehicle but also prolongs the life of your transmission. It does this by changing the in line pressures and shift points to accommodate the extra torque handled by the vehicle's automatic transmissions. So what do you need to look for when you're in the market out to buy for one?

Things to Consider

First and foremost you should understand the type of driving you'll do. If you simply go for a daily normal drive, then you should pick a programmer/tuner that's designed to support fuel with an 87 octane rating. This is important since some programmers only has tunes for a 91 octane fuel rating and tuning them up will make each visit to the pumps much more expensive.

Second, you should also consider the exterior modifications you have done to your vehicle. Adding bigger tires or a 4.10 ring pinion to your vehicle can severely affect how the pre-set tunes affect your car's performance. Make sure that the programmer you are eyeing to buy can properly re-calibrate the vehicle's speedometer to accommodate the different tire sizes or gear ratios you have modified.

What to Expect from a Transmission Programmer

You should look for the following characteristics in a programmer before buying one:

  • It should be able to connect to your vehicle's data port. As mentioned above, the data port (OBD II) can be found under the dashboard. If you are not sure if your car has one, it is good to note that most cars made after 1996 comes equipped with this port. Load custom software, known as a “tune”, into the engine's control unit (ECU).
  • A proper programmer should not be permanently attached to your vehicle in order to perform its purpose. It should be capable of saving the aftermarket tunes to the on-board computer. It would also be handy if the programmer is capable of saving the default tunes of your vehicle.
  • Capable of properly changing the ECU parameters, resulting in the removal of undesired clutch slippage and desired shift firmness.
  • It should have multiple tunes already available in the device
  • The device should be capable of being updated via the internet

Things you should be able to adjust with a Transmission Programmer

  • Shift Firmness
  • Drivetrain Temperature
  • Transmission Line Pressure
  • Speedometer calibration after installing bigger wheels or swapping rear differential gearing
  • Read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTC's)
  • Most programmers do not offer shift-on-the-fly power levels selection and tune changes. This means that any changes you might want to do is done while the vehicle is turned off.

The Results Once Installed

When you've finished installing, a tuner can increase the horsepower and torque produced by your vehicle by about 5-10%. If you opt for fuel economy rather than power, it can increase fuel economy by about 1 to 3 MPGs. In addition, it doesn't just increase throttle response but it also eliminates throttle lag found in vehicles using drive-by-wire throttles. Finally, it can reprogram the car in order to have better towing performance when needed.

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